Highlights from the U. S. Commercial Service Education Mission to the Philippines and Malaysia

In October of 2013, the U.S. Commercial Service took 29 higher education institutions on a trade mission in Southeast Asia to visit Manila and Kuala Lumpur.

Two members of the Commercial Service Global Education Team led 29 colleges and universities to Manila, Philippines and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the Department of Commerce’s 5th education trade mission. These mission participants represented the full breadth of U.S. higher educational offerings including a wide variety of institutions, from the largest state universities to small liberal arts schools and community colleges.

The goal of the mission was to introduce mission delegates to prospective students in each market. Additionally, the participating institutions had the opportunity to learn about the educational structures in the Philippines and Malaysia and perspective students were able to learn more about the benefits of a U.S. education and the options available.

The mission events at each location were coordinated through local Commercial Service and Education USA offices. These events featured opportunities to learn from the two foreign education ministries, connect with potential partners, interact with guidance counselors from schools across the metro areas, and connect to over 1,250 students over the course of the mission (student interaction occurred during 4 student fairs). The perspective students were also able to attend U.S. visa information sessions and speak one-on-one with U.S. Counselor Officers during the student fairs.

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Education exports in 2012 contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy and help create or support 313,000 jobs.

Education trade missions such as this one, bring value to the participants and is one component to the overall support the U.S. government provides to the international education sector. Through this support, a record number of foreign students are studying in the United States and this number is expected to grow which will add further benefit to the economy as a whole.

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Feedback from Mission Participants

Roosevelt University recently established an institutional priority to increase its international student enrollments, but with a limited budget and few connections overseas it was difficult to determine where to start.  Which countries should I visit? How would I establish contact with the people in-country who could help me increase my enrollments and link me to local contacts? How would I find my way around an unfamiliar city when I did not speak the local language?

At the recommendation of Deb Rogers in the Chicago US Department of Commerce office, I signed on for the October 2013 tours of the Philippines and Malaysia as my first organized recruitment trip, and I am writing today to heartily offer you - the folks who handled every last logistical detail - my biggest thanks.  I enjoyed and benefited not only from the student information fairs, but also - and in ways I could not have anticipated - from meetings with US embassy and consular staff, high school advisors and recruitment agents.   Every event was exceedingly well organized, and I was impressed by your approachability and friendlies even at the end of some very long days when none of us had quite yet overcome jetlag.  Again, thank you so much for all of the obvious talent and hard work you bring to your jobs.   I look forward to participating on another Commercial Service education mission soon!”

  • Roosevelt University Representative

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“Besides this being a great exposure opportunity, it also allowed us to gauge the market’s potential and to learn about the specific details of each market on the academic side. The organization was flawless, and the mission hosts were incredibly helpful and showed a level of commitment and customer service above all expectations. Congratulations.”

  • Arizona State University Representative